Mark Zuckerberg should stop making excuses about Facebooks impact on the election

Not enough.
Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a statement Wednesday addressing President Donald Trump, fake news, and his company’s controversial role in the 2016 presidential election. And, perhaps unsurprisingly coming from a man whose idea of connecting with reality is a carefully managed 50-state photo op, his words were polished to the point of meaninglessness. 

Zuck was responding to a rambling presidential tweet that both maligned the social network-turned-advertising company and insisted it’s “anti-Trump.” Possibly sensing an opportunity to garner some public goodwill, the best dressed man in Silicon Valley assured his 96 million followers that, nah, he’s doing his very best to be fair and balanced. And that he’s trying. Like, really hard. 

“Every day I work to bring people together and build a community for everyone,” he wrote while clearly channeling a high school vice principal struggling to understand why his students have turned against him. “We hope to give all people a voice and create a platform for all ideas.”

That some of those people just happened to find employment in a Russian government-linked “troll farm” that, according to his own chief security officer, “appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum”? Well, shucks. Mark sure is sorry.

And he’s doubly sorry that he hadn’t taken the issue of intentionally spread misinformation affecting the 2016 election seriously before now.  

“After the election, I made a comment that I thought the idea misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a crazy idea,” continued Zuckerberg. “Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it. This is too important an issue to be dismissive.”

Finally, the Boy King of Tech admits fault. But, lest you think this is the start of a new, self-reflective Mark, he quickly walked back that regret.  

“But the data we have has always shown that our broader impact — from giving people a voice to enabling candidates to communicate directly to helping millions of people vote — played a far bigger role in this election.”

So there you have it. Zuckerberg is sorry that following the 2016 presidential election he was publicly dismissive of so-called fake news, but doesn’t seem all that remorseful for profiting off that very thing. What’s more, according to the Wise One, Facebook did more to benefit the electoral process than harm it. So, you know, you should be thankful for the role Facebook played in our civic discourse. 

It’s a total cop out non-statement, and delivered in a style that Zuckerberg has clearly perfected. Good thing, too, as he’s going to need those verbal bullshit skills come 2020. While Zuck is busy patting himself on the back for finally admitting a reality heretofore obvious to everyone but him, it’s the rest of us that are left holding the bag.

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Tags: big-tech-companies donald-trump election-2016 facebook fake-news mark-zuckerberg Russia tech

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